The news that some parents across the country are spending thousands on private tutors to help their children pass the 11+ exam can be a daunting prospect for those that haven’t considered it.

Whether you don’t want to go down the tutoring route or don’t have the finances to pay for a private tutor, it is possible to take a DIY approach and still ensure your child is able to perform to their best ability in the exams.

In some regions entrance to grammar and selective schools is extremely competitive and it’s leading to parents stepping up their game. In some areas, a professional tutor can cost as much as £50 per hour and those planning on heading to grammar school start working on their exam techniques and knowledge in year 4 – two years before they’ll be sitting the exam.

However, a private tutor simply isn’t an option for some families but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to achieve successful results.

Tutoring-proofing exams

In fact, private tutoring has become so widespread and criticised that some schools are looking at ways to tutor-proof their 11+ exams. The changes will aim to make sure that children are picked based on their natural academic ability and potential rather than how they’ve been coached.

While attempts made so far to tutor-proof tests have been unsuccessful and are proving a challenge to create, it’s an area that’s set to have a greater emphasis placed on it after Theresa May announced plans to expand the number of grammar schools across the UK.

You can read more about the Theresa May announcement here

How to prepare for the 11+ exam without a tutor

While it might seem like everyone is hiring a tutor, the DIY route can be just as successful and even has some benefits, such as ensuring you always know how your child is progressing and cutting out traveling times and costs.

Following these tips for preparing can put you and your child on the road to success:

  • Take the time to look at papers – Before you think about tutoring, make sure you understand the subjects being covered and where your child may need extra help. Have a look over previous papers and search for solutions to any areas where you feel your knowledge might be lacking or could do with a quick refresh.
  • Speak with your child’s teacher – Your child’s teacher too will be able to identify areas where your child needs some extra support, allowing you to allocate your tutoring time more effectively.
  • Create a schedule – One of the benefits of a private tutor is that you’ll have a schedule that you’ll need to stick to. By creating a timetable for home and ensuring it’s adhered to means you can reap the same rewards.
  • Build reading into your daily routine – Vocabulary and comprehension plays a big part in any 11+ exam and it can be a fun way to prepare. It’s never too early to start reading both fiction and non-fiction books to help your child learn new words.

Practice is key

Taking any exam can be a scary experience for a child but with enough practice, they can get comfortable with the process and ensure that they’re well prepared for the upcoming exam.

School Exams provides previous exam papers for both maths and English 11+ papers, giving pupils a unique opportunity to sit a paper under exam-like conditions before the all-important test.

But the platform goes further than that: it also includes question by question video solutions, marking by a professional teacher, and explanations to what each question is assessing – perfectly complementing DIY tutoring at home and replicating a one-on-one private tutor experience at just a fraction of the cost.

With practice and plenty of preparation you can ensure that your child goes into their 11+ exam in the right frame of mind and able to tackle any challenges they might face.